The Lightning may be up 3-0 in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final, but they felt the loss of one of their key cogs in Game 2 against the Canadiens. While Alex Killorn did travel with the team to Montreal, he missed Game 3 and, per coach Jon Cooper on Monday morning, was a game-time decision for Game 4.
“I can’t sit here and make any promises he’ll play or not,” Cooper added, as his team looks to sweep and win its second consecutive Stanley Cup. “If not it’ll be the same lineup as (Friday). But he’s definitely inching his way closer.”
The Lightning forward did participate in the team’s warmup for Game 4 but was again a scratch.
Killorn has been out since blocking a Jeff Petry shot in the second period of Game 1. Playing without a stick after handing it to defenseman Victor Hedman, Killorn laid his body on the line to prevent the shot from getting through. He was shown on the bench in some pain and played four more shifts — including one in the third period — before missing the rest of the game.
Killorn normally skates on the Bolts’ second line with captain Steven Stamkos and Anthony Cirelli, and is part of the Lightning’s top power-play unit. He is also a key penalty killer.
“Alex is a piece of the puzzle,” Cooper said on Wednesday. “He plays multiple special teams, he kills penalties for us, he’s on the top power-play unit, he can check for us, he chips in on the goal-scoring side of things. He’s a depth, veteran player you can depend on game in and game out. He’s the guy that . . . you look on the scoresheet and he’s gobbled up 18 minutes, and he’s got some blocked shots, he’s got some hits, he’s got this, he’s got that. When you win a hockey game, he’s contributed in a way that doesn’t always get his picture in the paper.”
Tied for second on the team with eight goals in the playoffs entering Game 2, he has 17 points in 19 postseason games. Eight of those points are on the power play and one is a short-handed assist. During the regular season, he chipped in 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 56 games.
“Killer is a big part of our team,” said Tyler Johnson before Game 2. “He eats up a lot of minutes and plays in every situation. It’s going to be everyone having to step up in different roles. That’s the great thing about our team, we have that depth. It’s going to take everybody.”
Johnson took Killorn’s spot on the second line and notched an assist on the team’s first goal in Game 2 for his fourth point in 20 playoff games. He, too, was stung by a blocked shot, this one coming from Jesperi Kotkaniemi in the second period. Johnson limped off and was in some pain but stayed in the game.
Mathieu Joseph, who hadn’t played since the first round vs. the Panthers, slotted into the roster on the fourth line. He played two games against Florida and played four games during the Lightning’s 2020 Stanley Cup run. In 56 regular-season games this year, he tallied 12 goals and seven assists.
For what it’s worth, Mathieu Joseph watching clips with Pat Maroon and Ross Colton here at skate with assistant Derek Lalonde. Could see Joseph drawing in on fourth line and Tyler Johnson moving up to Cirelli line for Killorn. It would keep Point + Gourde line intact #tblightning pic.twitter.com/H7BgENl0qi
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) June 30, 2021